A Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Homes

If you live long enough, you’re likely to enter a phase of life where you’re once again reliant on the assistance of others. Like all living things, our bodies ascend to their pinnacle, and then they begin to decline much in the same way they grew stronger on their way to their peak. But isn’t there a balance to be found between needing occasional support services and needing around-the-clock assistance?

Indeed, you can maintain your independence and quality of life in a senior living community. In this guide, we’ll answer some questions about independent living communities and how to find the right senior living options for your budget and needs.

What are the Differences Between Retirement Homes and Nursing Homes

It’s important to note that a retirement home is not a nursing home. Nursing homes are for seniors who need around-the-clock attendance from a professional caregiver. Indeed, they’re much more hands-on than retirement communities.

Like nursing homes, retirement communities have compassionate staff who provide support services to their tenants. However, they provide significantly different levels of care depending on the needs of their seniors, from housekeeping to transportation to Walmart and doctors’ appointments.

What are the Age Requirements for Retirement Homes?

You might think that with the retirement age in Canada being 65 that the age requirement for retirement homes would be the same. However, the typical retirement home in Ottawa welcomes applicants aged 55 and older, and some set their age requirement as low as 50! Furthermore, you can be younger than 50 and reside in a senior community as long as one resident in the unit is of age.

What is the Application Process for Retirement Communities?

The application process for retirement communities is pretty simple. The first step is doing your groundwork and going to different facilities to find the best living options. However, with COVID-19 restrictions, you’ll likely have to settle for a virtual tour. Once you find the place that best fits your needs, you can fill out an application. Most facilities process applications for free. If your application is accepted, the facility will begin preparing your living space, which typically takes about a month.


What Amenities Should you Look for in an Independent Living Community?

Retirement communities across Canada have significantly expanded their amenities and the services they provide their tenants. They’ve learned that seniors want to enjoy retirement and not merely pass time. Accordingly, senior living communities have upgraded to facilitate an independent lifestyle mixed with assistance from dedicated and compassionate staff.

Most modern retirement living communities have a community fitness center, transportation to Walmart and other local shopping destinations, and even dog-friendly parks. You read that correctly: Many retirement communities allow residents to have small pets. Furthermore, some of the top facilities have real chefs to satisfy the foodie in you. Also, staff members frequently arrange social activities to facilitate residents getting to know each other in a fun setting.

Can you have your Own Vehicle at a Retirement Home?

Another difference between a nursing home and a retirement community is that residents are free to come and go as they please at many of these facilities. You’re allowed to bring your vehicle and will even be given a designated parking space (and possibly a plus-one for guests) that corresponds with your apartment.


One thing we all have in common is that we would like to age gracefully and with dignity. Living with your family is great, but no one wants to feel like they’re a burden on their family members. Independent living facilities enable seniors to have an active and independent lifestyle while also giving essential support services.

It’s critical to do your due diligence when searching for a senior living community for yourself or a loved one. With careful research and planning, you can find the right senior living options for your needs and budget.

A Comprehensive Guide to Retirement Homes
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